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Powerful Proton K rocket blasted off from the Baikonur.

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Proton K rocket.
powerful Proton K rocket blasted off from the Baikonur.

Is the Kuiper belt slowing the Pioneer spacecraft?

Launched from "Cape Kennedy" just 13 months of one another in 1972/73, Pioneer 10 and 11 are still up there though no longer kicking. But well before last phone home (in 2003 and 1995 respectively), the notes each pair played had changed pitch unexpectedly - they were slowly losing speed. Could the Pioneering Pair have been feeling a bit in the "dark" (as in "dark matter" or "dark energy")? Were they having a "Solar Quadrupole" moment? Could n-dimensional "branes" be behind it? Or has "back-gravity" from behind the Sun played a role? Before things get too exotic, maybe there's a simpler explanation.

Proton launches Russian communications satellite.

A powerful Proton K rocket blasted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan Tuesday night, carrying a Russian Express-AM2 communications satellite. It lifted off at 2231 GMT (5:31 pm EST), and placed its payload into a geosynchronous transfer orbit a few hours later. The Express-AM2 satellite will provide broadcast television and other communication services for Russia and Southeast Asia.

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